NHL: 7 Teams That Will Revamp and Threaten in 2013

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2012

NHL: 7 Teams That Will Revamp and Threaten in 2013

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    It's not enough to set out a course of action in the offseason, stick with it and then go into battle.

    That's a good starting point for most teams, but the personnel battle continues once the season begins.

    Teams must be willing to make trades and acquisitions to climb the ladder. While that may be perceived as instability by some, it also shows a willingness to constantly go through the process of self-awareness as a season progresses.

    For those teams that are hesitant to go through that process, there's a little thing called the NHL standings to look at every day that can help a general manager indicate what needs to be done next.

    Here's a look at seven teams that will revamp and threaten (to make the playoffs or contend for the championship) in the 2012-13 season.

Dallas Stars

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    The Dallas Stars made plenty of moves in the offseason after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

    That's a good reason to retool the team and it's not going to stop once (if) the season begins.

    The Stars added Aaron Rome, Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr and traded for Derek Roy. They traded feisty Steve Ott and moved Mike Ribiero. Sheldon Souray is also a former Dallas Star.

    Any team that has been as busy as the Stars is not going to stop making moves. Owner Tom Gagliardi wants to return his team to contender status and he knows that standing pat is not going to help the process.

    "We've been able to remake our team a bit and we like it," Gagliardi told NHL.com. "It fits very well with our long-term direction. We had to give up a couple of assets to get there, but we like who we've brought in and the deals we made."

    Gagliardi and general manager Joe Nieuwendyk are going to have to keep their eyes on Jagr and Whitney. While both are 40, expectations are high for both players. If either or both of them suffer injuries or fail to meet expectations, look for the Stars to act quickly.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The news has not been very good for the Philadelphia Flyers in the offseason.

    They wanted to get heavily involved in the free-agent market after their 2011-12 season ended with a second-round knockout at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.

    Specifically, they wanted to help the defense by signing free-agent Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators. He ended up spurning them and signing with the Minnesota Wild.

    The Flyers then went after restricted free agent Shea Weber by signing him to a $110 million offer sheet. The Predators shocked the hockey world by matching the offer and retaining his services.

    The Flyers have not gotten any good offseason news on the status of defenseman Chris Pronger. The strong likelihood is that he he will not play any time in the foreseeable future.

    Since they compete in the same division with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, they are going to have to revamp by making a couple of major moves to play on an even level with those rivals.

    The Flyers acquired defenseman Luke Schenn in a trade for James van Riemsdyk and also brought in Ruslan Fedotenko, but that's not enough.

    Look for Paul Holmgren to make moves as the season progresses to give this team a legitimate chance to contend.

Montreal Canadiens

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    This is a no-brainer.

    Finishing in dead last in the Eastern Conference is never going to be acceptable for the Montreal Canadiens. New general manager Marc Bergevin knows that his fan base demands that Les Glorieux must improve quickly.

    That does not mean the Canadiens will find themselves in Stanley Cup contention, but they have a chance to at least threaten to fight for a playoff spot.

    They have several key players in Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban and Carey Price to build around. They have added Brandon Prust and Francis Bouillon. Both are feisty players who will stand up for themselves and their teammates.

    However, signing those two and Colby Armstrong are not enough. Look for Bergevin to burn up the phone lines and make moves to improve the team.

    The Canadiens' fan base demands it.

Detroit Red Wings

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    This appears to be a rather difficult season for the Detroit Red Wings.

    The Red Wings have been at or near the top of the heap in the NHL since winning the Stanley Cup in the 1996-97 season. However, the Red Wings are going to have to do some work at this point if they want to retain that status.

    No matter what moves are made, the Red Wings are not likely to overcome the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired shortly after the season ended with a loss to the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.

    Lidstrom is arguably the second-best defenseman in NHL history behind Bobby Orr. You don't make up for that departure overnight.

    The Red Wings were unsuccessful in their attempts to land top free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Instead, they have added forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo along with goalie Jonas Gustavsson.

    That's not going to get it done. The Wings are going to have to do a lot more to stay relevant.

    Yes, they still have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but they had them last year and still lost in the first round.

    General manager Ken Holland has to show he is on top of the situation and make moves to get back near the top.

Buffalo Sabres

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    The Buffalo Sabres' 2011-12 season was defined by one play.

    When the Sabres went to Boston to take on the Stanley Cup champion Bruins in mid-November, the Sabres should have known they would have a fight on their hands.

    They were not ready for it. Bruins forward Milan Lucic found himself with a partial breakaway and he raced into the Buffalo zone to catch up to the puck. He could not do that but he found goalie Ryan Miller right in his sights. The burly Lucic ran over Miller with a hard hit—although he pulled back to some degree at the last instant.

    When Miller went down, it was clear what had to be done. Hockey teams have to stand up for their goalies, but nobody was willing to take on Lucic in an effective manner.

    Head coach Lindy Ruff knew his team did not have the right stuff.

    During the offseason, the Sabres traded slick forward Derek Roy for Dallas Stars tough guy Steve Ott. They also brought in enforcer John Scott.

    Bringing in character is one thing, but the Sabres may find that they don't have enough skill to take the Northeast title from the Boston Bruins or the Ottawa Senators. Look for the Sabres to make several moves just to get back into playoff contention.

Minnesota Wild

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    The Minnesota Wild knocked it out of the ballpark by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter this summer.

    General manager Chuck Fletcher wanted his team to join the big boys and they have taken a huge step to get there by signing these two studs.

    But Fletcher knows that his work is not done. The team has failed to make the playoff for four straight seasons.

    They did not win the Stanley Cup merely because they signed Parise and Suter.

    Look for the moves to continue. Fletcher and head coach Mike Yeo are still in the building process and they will have to make several moves for the team to be looked at seriously from this point forward.

    They may very well be a playoff team, but more is expected than an appearance in the postseason accompanied by a first-round exit. The Wild must stay active.

Anaheim Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks had a losing season in 2011-12 and failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years.

    They have an unhappy player in Bobby Ryan who wants to be moved. They are counting on Teemu Selanne to play a key role even though he is 42. They are expecting goalie Jonas Hiller to bounce back from a 29-30-12 season that included a 2.57 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. They are hoping conflicted head coach Bruce Boudreau will turn them around.

    Boudreau is a coach who is best-suited to leading an offensive-minded team. However, he lost his job in Washington while preaching defense to Alex Ovechkin and Co. and he struggled in his first partial season with the Ducks.

    The Ducks did not do enough in the offseason. Bringing in Sheldon Souray from the Dallas Stars is not enough.

    General manager Bob Murray is going to have to revamp this team if the Ducks are not going to capitulate to the neighboring Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and go through the motions this season.